Smartraveller’s warning for Australians traveling to Qatar for FIFA – Travel Weekly

Smartraveller has issued a new travel advisory for Australian travelers planning to visit Qatar for this year’s FIFA World Cup.

Travelers will need a special visa to enter Qatar from November 1, 2022 to January 23, 2023, according to the DFAT-run travel advice website.

Those planning to travel during this period will need an approved Hayya card instead of the country’s standard visa, which means you can only enter Qatar from November to the end of January if you have tickets for matches in the FIFA World Cup.

Smartraveller also warned that Qatar’s laws and customs are very different from Australia’s and said travelers could face stiff penalties for doing something you wouldn’t think twice about in Australia.

For example, using “obscene language or gestures” is an offence, and photographing locals, especially women, is illegal without permission.

There are strong Islamic dress and behavior codes in Qatar that travelers should be aware of in order not to offend, and public displays of affection and intimacy should be avoided.

The website also noted that homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, although host authorities said there would be no restrictions for LGBT+ couples staying in the same room.

In May, FIFA threatens to terminate contracts whether hotels on its recommended accommodation list refuse entry to same-sex couples after a survey found that three of its 69 listed hotels would not welcome LGBT+ guests and 20 said they would not would tolerate same-sex couples unless they were open about being gay.

Read more about Qatar entry requirements and travel advisories HERE.

Feature image: Aerial view of The Pearl, Doha (iStock/franckreporter)

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